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Behind the Scenes with Interior Designer Paula Waterhouse

Welcome to our October Designer Spotlight series, where this month, we are thrilled to present a Q&A interview with the exceptionally talented Waikato-based interior designer Paula Waterhouse.

As the head of Paula Waterhouse Design, Paula is known for her unique design style and extensive experience in the industry. In this interview, she shares insights about her inspiration, her journey as a designer, advice on creating an interior design scheme for your home and thoughts on upcoming trends. Get ready to be inspired! 

Paula Waterhouse
Paula Waterhouse and her design team Abbie and Lara

Heading back to when you started, what was it that inspired you to become an interior designer?

I come from a long line of creative people in my family, and building our first home gave me an insight into interior design, which I loved! Not long after, I pursued an interior design course in Christchurch.

A modern home with open plan kitchen and dining room. Black and white accent furniture and a natural wooden floor.

After you finished studying in Christchurch, can you share your journey in the interior design industry, from when you started to where you are now?

After completing my studies, I became a kitchen designer. I worked for kitchen manufacturing companies in Auckland for fifteen years and offered interior design services to my clients. When relocating to the Waikato fifteen years ago, I became an independent kitchen, bathroom and interior designer, and my business, Paula Waterhouse Design, was born.

The scope of our design services is split evenly between interiors and kitchens/bathrooms, aligning with the needs of builders, architects and private clients, with 90% of our work coming through word of mouth. Over the years, the business has grown to have a studio within a co-lab space shared with other industry specialists that offer lighting, window treatments, furniture and more. Also in my team are Abbie and Lara, who work on interiors. And Abbie is a fantastic bathroom designer.

What is your favourite design style? How does it influence your work? 

I would have to say, Contemporary Classic with an edge towards Mid Century, less is more, created with natural materials and textures. I like to keep things simple and less contrived. While Abby and Lara, enjoy the style of Eclectic/Mid Century and Japandi.

As we look ahead to the end of 2023, what current trends do you see emerging in interior design?

We are seeing more warmth in the interiors (less white)—lots of texture, wood, and natural materials. Curved furniture has been gaining popularity in recent years, and it is a trend that is set to continue in 2023. Curved furniture adds a softness to any space and can make a room feel more welcoming and warm.

Accent bold colours such as deep blue's and green are still a bit of a player in interiors. Upcycling materials is also on trend. Using the above to individualise interiors and have the courage to pursue it gives a less contrived design.

Can you share with us with your top five tips for planning a cohesive interior style? 

  1. Be clear about your vision.

  2. Compile design references with imagery.

  3. Reference that vision throughout.

  4. Align practicality with selections and layout.

  5. Consider employing a professional designer to execute the above with you. A professional can document the design for trades, suggest preferred suppliers, and provide renders to help visualise the space.

Reflecting on your career, could you share your most memorable project and explain why it stands out to you?

My most memorable project was a log cabin renovation. The challenges involved with restraints of the construction far out waved the final outcome. This project was a combination of fabulous clients, a generous budget and the client's willingness to push the boundaries.

The location was tranquil, and the owners brought the property based on the location, and the log cabin came by default. We toned down the log cabin feel while transforming the interiors into a luxury, light-filled, cosy living environment. We added layers of modern fittings that complemented the design. 

Lastly, which flooring would you be most excited to work with in your future projects?

I would like to work with an engineered wooden floor due to the natural composition.

The team at Floorboards would like to thank Paula for sharing her creative journey and expertise with us. To see more from Paula and the team at Paula Waterhouse Design visit their website to see an impressive portfolio or follow on Instagram.

Paula Waterhouse Design
Instagram: @paulawaterhousedesign

The Designer Spotlight series is proudly presented by Floorboards, your specialists in quality hard surface flooring throughout the Waikato and Bay of Plenty.

Hamilton & Waikato
Phone 07 959 1861

Tauranga & Bay of Plenty
Phone 021 977 548


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